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John’s gospel post 38: Bread of heaven

November 7, 2013

John 6:25 – 70

Feeding a multitude from one boy’s lunch, walking on water. It’s all going on!

But it’s time to talk again.  

The crowd though, many of whom may have been fed at the picnic, row off to find Jesus. They want more miracles!

And find him they do, but again he’s not playing their game. he sees through them. “How did you get here?” is ignored. “You only want me for the miracles. In fact you only want me for my food miracles. You’re forgetting – miracles = signs. You’re just seeing the miracle and not the truth it points to”.

Remember the Samaritan woman in chapter 4? He told her not to waste her time with the water from that well but to ask him for living water, that satisfies thirst forever. Now he makes a similar analogy from the bread. Don’t look for food that goes off. Go for food that gives eternal satisfaction. “I’ll give you that bread. God has approved me to do that”.

Jesus is again offering himself as the answer.

Another question – “What does God want us to DO?”

Same answer again “Believe in the one God sent – ME!”

The people were not convinced “give us a sign so we know it’s you. Even Moses came up with bread from heaven for the people of Israel”.

Very quickly they seem to have forgotten their rapturous response to the feeding miracle. They want something bigger!!

They actually need Jesus to remind them that Moses didn’t provide the bread from heaven. God did it! And God is still doing it. He’s still the one who gives the bread.

“Great. Give us some more bread please, Are they literally looking for another fish sandwich or they grasping some spiritual truth at last?

“I AM the bread of life!” Boom!

“You need bread? no – you need me! If you come to me you have all you need. But you still don’t believe in me. I’ve come here on a rescue mission from God. Whoever believes in me has eternal life. Life in 3D, HD and technicolor. I’m here to receive anyone and never let you go!”

The Jews grumble again. “Come down from heaven? Pah he’s the son of the local carpenter. What planet is he on?”

Jesus calls a halt to the grumbling. “I’ve told you I’m from God. I have seen God, you haven’t. Believe and you have eternal life. I AM the bread of life.”

Jesus continues. “I AM the bread of life. You need to eat my flesh”!

This is all too much for his audience. “How can we eat this man??!!”

Jesus persists “Eat my flesh, drink my blood. Live forever.”

The people were struggling now to grasp this. For some of his disciples it was the final straw. They walked away never to come back.

Jesus turns to his followers – “are you off as well?”

It is Simon Peter (remember him?) who jumps in with the reply. “We’ve got nowhere else to go. You say the words of eternal life. We’re sticking around. You say that these people don’t believe in you – but we do. Holy one of God!”

Even now Jesus doesn’t stop to congratulate them. Although we learnt little about the choosing of the disciples we see he chose 12. But one is “a devil”. (John’s gospel spoiler alert: this is Judas – he’s going to betray Jesus).

Woo! That is some heavy passage! But Jesus makes huge claims – to follow him – to “feed” on him is to know real life. Peter gets it. Do you?

Oh yes and those words “I AM” – only God is allowed to say those words. I AM is the ancient name of God. Jesus knows exactly what he’s doing and saying.

 

 

 

 

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